As I mentioned in my first post in this series, vampirism is diametrically opposed to everything God calls good in his Word. But in light of this distinct separation, how would a vampire who got saved navigate the vast chasm between his old existence and his newfound faith? Read on to find out my thoughts on the matter and to get a glimpse at some of the questions I considered when writing my debut novel, Blood for Blood.
You might be a vampire if…
…you’re freakishly strong?
The crowd behind him erupted with screams. Raven leapt onto the stage and positioned himself between Calandra and the toppling beam. His eyes locked on the falling log, and he reached up and caught it in his hands. The stage buckled underneath his feet and he almost lost his grip, but he dug his nails into the rough wood and held on.
The beam threatened to crush him. The tendons in his legs pumped like a locomotive engine as he shifted his position so he could bear the weight on his back instead. He now faced Calandra, who lay on the stage with one hand up to protect herself. The tent pole continued to sink toward her.
No farther, Raven decided.
He let out a roar and ground his heels into the wood of the broken stage with all his might, then hefted the log away from Calandra, which left her enough time to crawl out from under it. As she moved clear, her dark eyes fixed on his. In them he recognized fear, but also a hint of intrigue.
The tent collapsed in on itself. Heavy taupe fabric floated down onto the throngs of panicked people, and shrieks filled the air.
“It’s alright,” the evangelist called from his spot on the fractured stage. He’d ended up inside the tiny tent pocket Raven had created by wedging himself under the pole. “It’s alright. We’re okay.”
Speak for yourself. The evangelist wasn’t holding a 25-foot, 20-inch thick log on his back.
The evangelist scurried over to Raven and drew a knife. Raven’s eyes widened, but to his relief the evangelist just reached for some of the fabric and sliced a hole in it.
“Come this way, my friends. If you can’t get out on the edges, follow the sound of my voice and you can get out this way.” The evangelist turned to Raven. “You think you can hold it for a little longer until these people get out?”
Raven winced and his legs wobbled. He stole a glance at Calandra, shifted his left foot an inch, and hoisted the log up a bit higher. He nodded at the evangelist. “I don’t think I can go much higher, though.”
“You’re doing fine, son,” the evangelist said. “Just hold it there.”
Dozens of people emerged from under the tent fabric and headed toward the opening in the fabric. Not a single person passed Raven without giving him a look of fright, uncertainty, or both.
It wasn’t because the tent had collapsed. It was because he, a lithe, pale young man who should have struggled to lift a hundred pounds now held more than ten times that much on his back.
By now they had to know what he was, and that meant they feared him.
– Excerpted from Chapter 3 of Blood for Blood, by Ben Wolf
Most vampire lore suggests that vampires are ten times stronger than a human male. Whether that’s an average human male, a weak human male, or an exceptionally strong human isn’t really at-issue here. The point is that you don’t want to tangle with a vampire if you can help it because you probably can’t overcome them.
What is the source of vampires’ ridiculous strength? As I explained in Part 1 of this series, it’s prevalent throughout most lore that vampires perpetuate their existence by drinking the blood of living humans. It’s not hard to draw a connection between a vampire’s strength and his thirst for blood. If he doesn’t drink blood on a consistent basis, he can’t keep up his strength, the same as if a normal human didn’t eat for a day or two, he would feel weakened.
The Bible is no stranger to supernatural strength, nor is it silent on the issue of personal strength. Samson is the most obvious example of supernatural strength. Throughout Judges 13-16 we see Samson gain supernatural strength on a number of occasions, only to lose it when he totally turns his back on his Nazirite vows. There are also dozens of verses that reference strength or power in some way, whether it be metaphorical, spiritual, physical, military-based, emotional, or other kinds of strength.
But the apostle Paul summarizes the Christian approach to strength in a few key verses:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? …No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:31, 37, NIV)
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)
Vampiric strength is decidedly not based on anything scriptural. The supernatural strength afforded (then removed, then returned to) Samson was based on a covenant, a vow he’d (or more accurately his parents) made with God. Once he violated the terms of that covenant, Samson was no longer able to call upon that strength to save himself when need arose.
I view the vampire’s supernatural strength as being of twofold purposes:
1. Practically, a vampire would need to be much stronger to subdue his victims (just like a lion is stronger than a gazelle, and most predators target smaller, weaker prey).
2. Metaphorically, a vampire needs to be able to rely on his own strength rather than on God, because God has, in theory, already damned the vampire’s soul (more on this in Part 10 of this series).
Raven (the main character in Blood for Blood) wields his vampiric strength multiple times throughout the story, and other vampires showcase their strength as well. Do you think a vampire’s strength could ever be used for good? Would a vampire lose his strength if he became a Christian?
I tackle these questions and more in my debut novel, which you can purchase by clicking the cover image below. Please leave me a comment with your thoughts on this facet of vampire lore below.